Wednesday, June 11, 2008

eBay Fined Over Counterfeit Goods

eBay was convicted by a French court last week of selling counterfeit goods and ordered to pay the equivalence of $30,000 dollars in damages to French luxury group Hermes.

The court ruling, which was the first of its type in France, found eBay directly responsible for the sale on its website of three Hermes bags including two fakes, for a total of 3,000 euros.

"By selling Hermes bags and branded accessories on the site, and by failing to act within their powers to prevent reprehensible use of the site," the user and eBay "committed acts of counterfeiting and imitation of French brand names ... to the detriment of Hermes international," said the ruling.

eBay, along with the woman who put the bags up for sale, were ordered to pay the damages of 20,000 euros (roughly $30,000 dollars) as well as post the ruling on its French homepage for three months.

This lawsuit defeat could open the door for more suits against eBay which has already come under fire from several major companies. Luxury fashion houses Louis Vuitton and Dior Couture have also taken legal action against eBay respectively seeking 20 million and 17 million euros in damages. Last September L'Oreal launched legal action against eBay in five European countries including France, over the sale of bottles of counterfeit perfume.

Here in the states the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) as been keeping close tabs on eBay and the selling of counterfeit software. In February the SIAA filed its biggest round of lawsuits to date against several eBay sellers for selling counterfeit goods including fake copies of Photoshop, PcAnywhere and Norton Utilities.

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